Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves….the Fourth Step of the 12 Step Programs…is a powerful tool in recovery. Taking the time to assess our shortcomings, examine where our desires have sent us in the wrong direction, and telling the truth about the impact of our actions upon ourselves and others is an exercise that would benefit everyone, not just those in recovery. Taking the time to examine our strengths or assets is a valuable activity as well. Telling the truth about our accomplishments, bravery and growth is sometimes an even harder step for people in recovery to take. Having spent a great deal of time in self-loathing, self-criticism, and judgement, acknowledging successes is often very difficult. As 2016 comes to a close, I invite you to spend some valuable time doing a specialized inventory…. using this tool can be a powerful way to stay on track and engaged in recovery. I invite you to examine your challenges and successes over the past year. If you set goals at the beginning of the year, take time to review them and acknowledge where you met your goals and where you fell short. Whether you set goals or not, here are a few areas to explore:
5 Steps to Bring Closure to 2016
- If you had goals – concrete ones or ones in your own mind – what were they?
- Write down all the successes you have had this past year – small ones, big ones, and in-between ones! Start with your sobriety …acknowledge your days, months, years. From there, what else did you do, how did you show up, what did you accomplish? Take your time and write everything down!
- Write down where you fell short ? What didn’t you do this year that you intended to do? This is NOT an exercise in self-blame…It is an exercise in telling the truth, the non-dramatic, factual truth.
- What are three things you are willing to do differently this next year to keep your agreements with yourself ? When you do this exercise in December 2017, how can you have a different experience ? What do you need to do differently, how do you need to show up in 2017 to have a more purposeful year?
- Journal – write down what you’ve learned and what you want for 2017. My next blog will be about creating goals and intentions for 2017!
When you’ve taken the time to examine your accomplishments and shortcomings, think back from where you’ve come, focus on gratitude, forgive yourself for wherever you fell short, and commit to keeping your word in 2017. Living with integrity, keeping your word with yourself, is paramount for living a life with joy and peace.Be willing to let go of anyone, anything that holds you back and surround yourself with people who call forth your best self. Last, but not least, CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESSES! Learning to celebrate sober is an important, critical lesson in recovery.
5 Powerful Ways to Celebrate Your Successes, Clean and Sober
- Share all – or some – of your successes with friends, family, sponsors …Go to a meeting and share and/or express your gratitude for the year – it is very inspiring to others to share your accomplishments! As you share, SMILE!
- Post on social media at least one success from the year – add a photo – and smile! It is OK to brag – learn to master the art of being humble AND sharing your successes!
- Treat yourself to something special...flowers, a movie, an amusement park trip, a hike – and smile!
- Throw a sober dinner party! Celebrate with your sober friends and family and take time to go around the table and share one thing you are grateful for this past year and smile! Be the inspiration, motivator, agent of change in your own life and share with others!
- Give back – in acknowledgment of your own success, give to someone else. Give your time, a donation, an act of service, a compliment and smile! Give back with the intention of celebration and gratitude.
Take time to pause on December 31st…. Acknowledge the moment…. Say goodbye to the year, all the good and the bad…. Let it all go…. Welcome in the new year…. Open your heart and be willing to receive an abundance of joy, happiness, health, success, and serenity in 2017.
Look for my next post on Setting Goals and Intentions for the New Year!